Basic Folk 168 – Grant-Lee Phillips
Former Grant Lee Buffalo frontman, Grant-Lee Phillips‘ latest solo album, All That You Can Dream, is -quite- dreamy. During the pandemic, Grant’s been contemplating many things and figuring out how to spend his time away from the road. One interest he’s been cultivating is painting. He’s been sharing his paintings on social media and even used a painting of his beloved silver headphones, which you can also find on the liner notes for Grant Lee Buffalo’s Mighty Joe Moon, on the cover of his new album. He worked on this album from his home in Nashville where he produced, engineered, mixed, and recorded himself. And in addition to a few other musicians, he’s joined by the crack team of bassist Jennifer Condos and drummer Jay Bellerose. It’s always a treat to hear this dynamic duo! He said working on the album at home “pushed me to take the wheel as an engineer, mixer and producer. Consequently, so many nuances remain in the final mix, all the weird stuff that sometimes gets lost in the polishing stages of production.” I’m all about that on a GLP recording. It sounds rich and raw at the same time, which feels very good in the chest. All That You Can Dream is filled with his signature songwriting: “using rich historical references to illuminate modern truths.” Grant says “I’m always juxtaposing the events that we’re all going through with similar events in history.”
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In our conversation, we talk about Grant’s early life in Stockton, CA. He grew up knowing his family included Native American on both parents’ sides. He made an album in 2012, Walking in the Green Corn, which explored his indigenous heritage. He gets into how David Bowie opened up his world, why he started playing guitar and what he likes about playing a 12 string versus a 6 string guitar. He talks about how acting has been a constant in his life; from being a professional magician at age 10 to appearing regularly as The Town Troubadour on Gilmore Girls. Hope you enjoy this interview with one of my favorite people!